Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Photo #24

Film (with rating): Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Studio: Warner Home Video

Summary: Lord Voldemort’s grip tightens on the wizard and
Muggle world, and Harry and Dumbledore work to end his terrible reign.

Review: Wow. I don’t know how each of the “Harry”
films gets better and better. This one, the sixth in the series and based on
the second-to-last book in J.K. Rowling’s ridiculously popular and iconic
novels, is no different. It is spectacular. It’s dark, which holds true to the
book’s more-adult themes (after all, the Hogwarts kids are getting older and
facing more complex problems, so keeping the tone juvenile would not have
worked, either on paper or film).

But best yet, the magic is still there,
despite the more adult themes and flavors. And said magic is so seamlessly
incorporated into the film, viewers just accept it as natural and normal. I
mean, we are at Hogwarts, so of course
books fly and metallic objects come to life. The stable crew of actors are at
it again, with Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson once again
lighting up the screen. They’ve grown older, and better, with each passing

Director David Yates, who also directed the last film,
“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” has matured in his role,
as well. “Prince” is filled with sharp messages and a sense of doom
that the fans of the book series know all too well. Yates even keeps relatively
true to the novels, which is what helps to make this film series so popular.
(Well, that and the fact all of the movies have looked fantastic, and the
original, very talented actors stuck around through the entire thing. That, in
my opinion, is huge and a big reason for success).

That being said,
“Prince” doesn’t really elaborate or embrace the book’s extremely dramatic
ending, which may disappoint some viewers. My advice is to watch the film not
as a retelling of the book, but as its own interpretation. You’ll enjoy it more
that way.

Extra highlight: “J.K. Rowling: A Year in the

What to serve for dinner: Go with something Harry Potter ate
in a previous novel: Cornish pasties. Finish off with Harry’s favorite dessert,
Treacle Tart.

Cornish Pasty (allrecipes.com)

2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup butter, diced

1/2 cup water

1 1/4 pounds rump roast, cubed

1 onion, chopped

2 potatoes, peeled and diced

1 small turnip

salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons milks

In a small saucepan, cover turnips with water. Bring water
to a boil and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Let cool and slice. Sift
flour, salt and baking powder together in a bowl. Add butter, and rub to the
consistency of coarse crumbs. Mix in water. If dough is sticky, add more flour.

Roll dough out until about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out six
circles, each about five inches round. Do not stretch the dough. Mix meat and
vegetables together, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover half of each pasty
base with the filling. Moisten pastry edges, fold pastry over the filling.
Press edges together with a fork. Transfer raw pasties to a baking sheet, brush
tops with milk, and make a small slit in each top to allow steam out. Bake at
450 degrees for 10 minutes. Turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake for 35

Treacle Tart (Detroit Baking Examiner.com)

Unbaked pie shell for single crust, 8-inch pie

1 c. Lyle’s Golden Syrup

1 c. dry bread crumbs

Lemon rind of 1 lemon, finely grated

Juice of half a lemon (about 1 teas.)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In heavy saucepan, lightly warm the syrup to make it easier
to incorporate the other ingredients. Keep a close watch on this as it can be
easy to overheat. Add crumbs, lemon rind and juice. Mix well. Put filling into
unbaked crust. It will be pretty stiff. Smooth the filling and decorate top
with extra pieces of crust, or a lattice top. Bake for about 20 minutes, until
crust begins to brown. Cool before cutting.

If you’re unable to find golden syrup, try substituting it
with two parts light corn syrup and one part molasses, or equal parts of honey
and light corn syrup.

What to talk about over dinner: Would you ever want to be a
wizard? How about being Harry Potter? Which one was your favorite book? Why?
Are you looking forward to the last two movies in the franchise in 2010 and
2011, or do you dread the end? Who is your favorite character? If you could
have one magical power, what would it be? What do you think these actors will
do when “HP” is finished? Do you think J.K. Rowling will ever write
another blockbuster series like this?

Terminator Salvation


Film (with rating): Terminator Salvation (PG-13)

Studio:  Warner
Home Video

Summary: John Connor, the leader of the human resistance,
does his best to fight Skynet’s plan to terminate mankind while also trying to
save the life of his father, Kyle Reese.

Review: Without Arnold as the Terminator, there’s not much
traditional spunk in “Terminator Salvation.” Christian Bale as John
Connor is lackluster and a bit too monotone and, dare I say, robotic. 

This being the fourth film in the
series (see USA Today’s timeline for a cool graphic),
“Terminator Salvation” does deliver in terms of action and
explosions, even if it doesn’t feel at all like its predecessors. It’s darker,
grittier, more morose. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. It’s just
very different. And very, very action-packed.

Director McG (“Charlie’s
Angels”) knows how to make a big, blow-up film. Dialog, storyline and
character development? Not so much. But I really doubt anyone will watch
“Terminator Salvation” to learn more about life and the meaning of
it.  Nope, we all watch films like
this for the excitement factor, and “Terminator Salvation” has plenty
of that. 

Hang in there through the
first part of the film, which tends to drag. The last half of “Terminator
Salvation” is worth the wait. Just don’t expect it to attain near the
classic status of the others in the franchise.

Extra highlight: None, unless you choose Blue-ray. Then take
a peek at the “Maximum Movie Mode.”

What to serve for dinner: It’s impossible to watch any
“Terminator” film without somehow connecting it to Arnold Schwarzenegger.
So serve up one of the “Governator’s” favorite Austrian
dishes–bratwurst. Try Bratwurst A’ La Hein (cooks.com). 

6 onions, sliced

1 c. chili sauce

1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 c. ketchup

2 tbsp. vinegar

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. brown sugar

1/2 tsp. paprika

6 grilled brats

1 (12 oz.) can beer

Put onions and sauce ingredients in Dutch oven. Add sausages
and beer. Simmer, covered 30 minutes or until onions are tender. Serve hot in
buns. Brats can be grilled ahead of time and refrigerated. Make sauce on day of
meal and add brats.

What to talk about over dinner: Do you think machines could
take over the world? If so, how would it all shake down? What was your favorite
“Terminator” film? Why? How did this one compare for you? Did you
miss Arnold? Do you think he’ll ever be President of the United States if the
Constitution is changed to allow it? How do you think he’s doing as governor?
Did you like Christian Bale as John Connor? Or was he just too much “Dark
Knight?” Did you watch the “Sarah Connor Chronicles” on TV? What
did you think of it? Upset it was canceled?